Monday, April 19, 2010


So, you know a bit about the Hard Dance/Harcdore genre. Now it's time to start a new topic on the popular Trance genre. As listed on my previous post, there is quite a bit of sub-genres, so this might be a pretty big post. What I'm going to do is give you a quick description of each sub-genre, where it is popular, and an album or two you might want to check out to understand that sub-genre a little more.

Acid Trance
Acid Trance started around the 80's and 90's, and it is basically focusing on an "acid" sound. This sound was first created by the Roland TB-303 (synthesizer) by playing a sequenced melody while altering an insturments cutoff frequency, resonance, envelope modulation, and accent controls. Acid Trance is best known in Belguim because of the Antwerp Rave in Belgium, which was the first showing of the Acid Trance genre.

Acid Flash seems to be the most popular Acid Trance series. It started in 1995, and features the most popular Acid Trance artists around!

Classic Trance
Classic Trance is just another way of saying Trance basically. Trance usually has a tempo of 130-155 bpm, has 32 beat phrases, short melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that buils up and down throughout a track. A kick drum is placed on every downbeat and a hi-hat is often placed on every upbeat. Some simple extra percussive elements are usually added, and major transistions, builds or climaxes are often forshwdowed by snare rolls (build-ups). Created with synthsizers such as TR-808, TR-909, TB-303, and many more. Trance can also be a combination of other genres such as Industrial, Techno, and House.

Obviously Dj Tiesto Elements of Life should be the first album you should check out if you are interested in the Trance genre. It's full of amazing melodies, and is Tiestos best album!

Again, a very popuolar Trance artist Armin Van Buuren should be another artist to check out! He is ranked #1 Dj in the world, and has composed multiple number 1 songs on the Trance charts!

Hard Trance
Hard Trance is usually set between 140-160 bpm, and varies from Classic Trance with its emphasis on harder, often acid sounds. The beat is very strong, and lead pads and synths are simpler, but still are melodic. The "hoover" sound, named because of its "vacuum-like" drone, has been used less frequently, but only so it can have a harsher melody through pads or synths. Recently, European Hard Trance has been developed, which contains darker elements, and is similar to Hardstyle. Hard Trance is popular in Japan, the UK, and othe parts of Europe.

Tunnel Trance Force is the most popular Hard trance series ever! It has been going on for so long, it's on its 52nd album! Plus it's mixed by the very popular Dj Dean! Be sure to check out any of the 52 albums, and i assure you, you will not be disapointed!

Masif HardTrance Anthems is an album created by the very popular record company that made Masif Hardcore. Mixed by steve hill and Dj Alex Kidd, this album is full of choons!

Progressive Trance
Progressive Trance has a similar structure to Progressive House, but with some variations. For example, phrases are usually a power of two number bars and begin with and introduction of a new melody or rythm, and the tempo is usually around 128-140 bpm. Now, with this kind of music, listeners who aren't fans may get annoyed and want to turn it off because Progressive Trance have buil-ups that can last 3 to 4 minutes, and the songs are longer then normal (being 5-6 min), Progressive Trance songs can go as long as 12 minutes. But people! After you get passes those 3-4 minute build-ups, I'm telling you, the song is magical, it never fails to disapoint me!

The Progressive Trance series is one series you should check out! It holds all of the best Progressive Trance Tracks. The first 6 albums are all Progressive Trance albums, while Vol. 7 and 8 deal with Goa Trance.

Psychedelic trance/Goa trance
Psy/Goa Trance seems to be a big genre throughout the world. The genre itself has many different types of styles, Dark Psy, Full On, Psybreaks, Psybient. and Progressive. Regular Psy/Goa Trance is made with VST and AU software presets. The use of analog synthesizers has given way to digital "virtual analog" insturments like Nord Lead, Access Virus, Korg MS-2000, and Roland JP-8000.

Dark Psy - Dark Psy has a speed of 145-180 bpm, and usually does not contain any vocals. But Dark Psy can contain sampling, which is a part of a speech from a movie (usually from a horror or Sci-fi movie). Dark Psy is a darker, faster and more distorted form of Psy/Goa Trance music.

Full On - A hard genre to recgonize, but only if you don't know how to. The esaiest way to recognize Full On is its "rolling" bassline, which has two or three short bass notes in between each hit of the 4/4 drum.

Psybreaks - Psybreaks is just basically a breakbeat style (mentioned in previous post) of Psy/Goa Trance.

Progressive - Progressive Psy/Goa Trance is the slowest style of the genre with its speed of 125-145 bpm. It is a cleaner, and has a clearer sound compared to the other Psy genres, and is known for its well constructed percussion.

Psybient - aka Ambient Psy, is part of the Psychill scean. Psybient songs are often structured around the concept of a "sonic voyage" or "musical journey" (very hippy trippy). Psybient focuses more on creating a vast soundscape, also on tempo changes, while at the sametime focusing less on beatmatching.

Psy Trance 2 Euphoria is a compilation mixed by John Fleming, and contains Progressive Psy, and Full On Psy. This is a must listen to album!

Uplifting Trance
A derivative of the Psy Trance genre. Uplifting Trance is usually around 136-142 bpm, and uses similar progressions as Progressive Trance, but usually rest on a major chord, and the balance between the major and minor chord will determine how happy or sad a song will be. Uplifting Trance has long major chord progressions in all elements (ex. the synth, bass, treble, etc...), and has extended breakdowns. Uplifintg Trance is popular all around Europe.

Uplifting Trance Session Vol 5 is a great album to start off with if you are new to Uplifting Trance. Mixed by Paul Hided, this album is a great compilation with the best tracks today!

Vocal Trance
Vocal Trance contains vocals, highly melodic sessions, and intros and outros that are similar to Hard Trance and Progressive Trance. Vocal Trance tracks are usually around 6-8 min. long, and contain 3 main elements that should be noticed. First, the intro to the song contains progrssive beats, which go on for 1-3 min. Second, the melodic part which also contains the vocals (usually female), and go on for 2-5 min. Finally, the outro, which is when the melody fades out, and becomes the same rythem as the intro, but with some minor changes.

Vocal Trance Club Hits Vol 2 I think is the best Vocal Trance album you are going to find. Contains extended versions and Club versions of popular songs around in Trance.

Tech Trance
Combines the genres Techno and Trance, as the name suggests. This type of genre incorporates elements of Techno, with its repetitive nature and strong 4/4 beat, while at the sametime keeping the melodic elements from Trance. This style is usually paced at a 135-150 bpm rate. It also tends to use a more driving sound while using distortion as an effect on melodies. Melodies will only begin once the beat has stopped, and once the melody has stopped a brand new synth and beat will start. Synths can become extremely short, causing it to be repetitve and having very little note change.

Tech Trance Anthems Vol 2 would be the only Tech Trance album I would suggest. It has awsome tunes, and will really get you dancing!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Really, its not techno! + Hard Dance/Hardcore

"Hey you ever hear of Dj Sy?"

"No, i haven't, who is he?"

"One of the best Uk Hardcore Djs in the world!"

"Uk Hardcore?"

"Yea, form of electronic music,"

"Oh you mean Techno?"

"No, i mean Uk Hardcore, the biggest electronic genre!"

"Just call it Techno, because that's what it is."

See, this is what bothers me about people who call every electronic genre "Techno". It's not Techno, it's totally different, and this is why this blog has started. I want to tell those people who have no idea what electronic music is, because Techno is the wrong name for 99% of the genres of electronic music.

This first blog will just be an overview of what is to come. I will give quick descriptions of each genre i will be talking about, and if they are popular or not, in this blog. The other blogs will be about 1 genre only, because explaining each will take some much reading, so i will seperate each genre.

First, there are over or close to 100 types of electronic music. The main genres are, House, Trance, Jungle/Drum and Bass, Techno, Hard Dance/Hardcore, Industrial, Ambient, and Downtempo. These main genres can be split into Sub-Genres which are the following:

Hard Dance/Hardcore:
Bouncy techno
Breakbeat Hardcore
Digital hardcore
Happy hardcore
UK Hardcore

Acid trance
Ambient trance
Classic trance
Dream trance
Hard trance
Progressive trance
Psychedelic trance/Goa trance
Dark psy
Full on
Tech trance
Uplifting trance
Vocal trance

Acid house
Bubblegum dance
Chicago house
Crack house
Dark house
Deep house
Disco house
Dream house
Electro house
Euro house
Fidget house
French house
Freestyle house
US garage
Ghetto house
UK Hard house
Hard NRG
Hip house
Italo house
Jackin' house
Latin house
Minimal house/Microhouse
Progressive house
Scouse house
Swing house
Tribal house
Tech house

Jungle/DnB (Drum and Bass):
Intelligent drum and bass
Liquid funk
Oldschool jungle
Darkside jungle

Acid techno
Detroit techno
Free tekno
New beat
Schranz / Hardtechno
Tech house
Tech trance
Yorkshire Techno

Ambient industrial
Dark ambient
Dark electro
Death industrial
Electronic body music

Acid jazz
Balearic Beat
Chill out
Dub music
Ethnic electronica
New Age music
Nu jazz
Trip Hop

Ambient house
Ambient techno
Dark ambient
Drone music

Trust me when i say there is more then just Techno.

Now, I will start my first section, which is about the Hard Dance/Hardcore genre. I will give descriptions, and I will suggest an album or two you should check out in order to fully understand what i am talking about.

Hard Dance/ Hardcore:

Old-Skool aka Breakbeat hardcore - This retrospective term is usually reserved for tracks produced in the early 90's, a large period of growth for hardcore. Lots of piano rolls, bouncy basslines, breakbeats, plenty of female vocals and classic "rave" sounds are some of the defining characteristics of this subgenre.

Crush On Hardcore The Album That was Called V is a 3 CD album that contains Freeform Hardcore, and Breakbeat Hardcore. I would suggest you listen to CD 1, which is an epic mix of Breakbeat Hardcore by Cube::Hard.

Happy hardcore is a form of dance music known for its very quick tempo (usually around 165-180 bpm), often coupled with male or female vocals and sentimental lyrics. Popular in the UK, Australia and Spain, amongst other countries. Generally has a large cult following known as "Candy ravers".

The Ultimate Happy Hardcore Album mixed By Djs Dougal and Vibes, contains 6 CDs of non-stop choons! This is an album to check out!

Makina - Fast electronic dance music from Spain, fairly similar to happy hardcore.

Makina, Makina...Makina, well, I have not listened to this album, but since this is the only album I could find that is Makina music exclusively, give a listen!

UK hardcore - Modern form of happy hardcore, less childish feel with supersaw leads.

Bonkers is a very popular Uk Hardcore Series that started in the early 90s and is still going! its on its 18 album which came out this year!

The Clubland X-treme Hardcore series is one of the biggest UK Hardcore compilations. There are 6 volumes, all mixed by Darren Styles, Dj Hixxy, and Dj Breeze. I enjoyed each album, and this series should be one of the first you listen to if you have just started listening to UK Hardcore.

Freeform hardcore - Hardcore with strong influence of trance, mainly instrumental.

Again Crush on Hardcore The Album That Was Called V should be listened to for Freeform aswell. CD 2 and 3 contains the best Freeform tracks from the known artists to the unknowns.

Hardcore Breaks - Written in the style of old-skool rave music or breakbeat hardcore using modern technology and production techniques.

Hardcore Breaks Element #1 contains 13 popular Hardcore Break songs in Poland!

Gabber - Most popular in The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium, characterized by heavy bass drum sound, usually created with distortion, generally 150-220 bpm.

Hardcore to the Bone is one of the very popular Hardcore/Gabber albums out there, and deserves a listen!

Doomcore aka Darkcore - Downtempo, characterized by reverb on detuned semi-distorted kicks on eerie synth pads.
Noisecore aka Industrial hardcore - Hardcore influenced by industrial music, characterized by harsh beats.
Digital Hardcore - Hardcore Punk influenced Hardcore and Breakcore.
Breakcore - Uses distorted, fragmented breakbeats and sampling to create a hectic effect.
Speedcore- With tracks that can range from 250 bpm up to 15000 bpm, often featuring heavy distortion. Not to be confused with Thrashcore or Speed metal. Also named splittercore, when the tempo is around 700 bpm, and extratone, when the tempo exceeds 1000 bpm.
Terrorcore - refers to more extreme version of 'regular gabber', with a highly aggressive theme, modern tracks using same bass drum sound as nu-style gabber

Hardstyle - Hardstyle is usually around 140-160 bpm. Hardstyle consists of a heavy sounding kick, intense basslines, and insane melodies. It has some similarities to Hard Trance (which will be explained later). Hardstyle is mainly produced in the Neterlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Malaysia, and the one and only Australia!
Jumpstyle - Jumpstyle is usually around 140-160 bpm, and is very similar to Hardstyle, but seems to be more focused on just the bass rather than the melody. There are 4 types of Jumpstyle music, Oldskool, Tek-style, , Freestyle, and Hardjump (which will also be explained later on).
Bouncy Techno - Typical characteristics for bouncy techno are for compositions to be around a tempo of 160 to 180 bpm, using a 4/4 signature of 4 cycle segments, where different elements would be gradually layered into the mix. Drum instruments will be minimal, usually consisting of a hard bass drum, sharp open hi-hat, hand clap, on-beat snare drum, ride and a splash cymbal, using the like of DrumStation, SP-1200, or TR-909 machines.

Always Speedcore is a very popular Speedcore compilation by Dj Frazzbass and The Rapist!

*I am currently updating this section, as you can see, it is not finished. Will be updated shortly. I am trying to get House and this section done at once and it is taking me awhile. So please be patient!